Dick DeVos has given to so many organizations throughout his life that it’s hard to really account for every act of philanthropy, but recently he and his wife Betsy decided to make known the mysterious number due to Betsy being selected as Secretary of Education. According to all known figures and largely excluding any amounts they’ve donated to political campaigns, it’s been found that Dick and Betsy DeVos have given around $139 million over the course of their lives. Dick and Betsy have funneled some of their giving through their business, The Windquest Group while other funds have been given through the Dick & Betsy DeVos Foundation.
Dick DeVos’s family has always made philanthropy important in life, something that Dick’s father Richard DeVos Sr. did in conjunction with the company he co-founded in Amway Corporation. Dick started out his career at Amway where he served in various managerial capacities after completing his bachelor’s degree at Northwood University. It didn’t take long before he and his brothers Daniel and Douglas became vice presidents of the company and were tasked with growing the company into new markets. Dick briefly left the company in 1989 and started his own investment company, The Windquest Group that he devotes most of his time to running. But he did serve as CEO of Amway as well from 1993 to 2002.
Dick and Betsy have devoted their philanthropy to issues that have not only mattered to their political beliefs, but have also been important to strengthening the Grand Rapids community. School of choice has been their main target area reflected in various reform measures that Dick looked to get through while serving on the Michigan State Board of Education, and also a major part of their scholarship programs at the Education Freedom Fund and Children First America. In addition to education, healthcare has also been an area of philanthropy that even earned Dick the 2006 Spectrum Health Foundation’s Art of Giving award. Dick and Betsy also donated to the Kennedy Center’s institute for arts management in 2012.
Besides currently serving as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos was the former chairperson of the Michigan Republican Party. Dick DeVos once ran in the 2006 gubernatorial race against incumbent Jennifer Granholm hoping to beat her when it came to addressing issues regarding employment and state taxes. While initially he led in the polls, he wasn’t able to perform as well as he had hoped in the debates and came up short on election day. He did continue to work with conservative think tanks and state legislators to enact other reforms including a 2012 right-to-work law. Dick has also served on the board of Grand Action Committee and is the author of Rediscovering American Values.